Our Insights from BC Estate Forum

Lloyd Litke |

Lloyd and Charissa attended a virtual conference in June called the BC Estate Forum. Speakers were Lawyers, Accountants, Financial Planners, Digital Undertakers, Mediators, Insurance Advisors and more who discussed the implications of COVID-19 on estate planning.

Checklist to success:

  1. Do you have a will? Was it recently set up or reviewed?
  2. Do you store photos on your computer or do banking online or have an email address? Who is your digital executor? Do you have your user names and email addresses listed for each provider? (no passwords should be shared but your digital executor should know what they will need to close on your behalf.)
  3. For those with plentiful assets, have you set up a trust or have you recently reviewed your trust documents (there were tax changes a few years ago)?
  4. Is your real-estate is in joint tenancy to avoid probate? Note, that if you are joint with your child, if they were to go through a divorce/bankruptcy, their ownership in your property would be considered ½ their asset and therefore open to splitting assets in divorce/creditors.

Some interesting facts about wills: In BC, a spouse or child can challenge a will for any reason. (Note, a grandchild or step child does not have the same right.)  That means that if your parent remarries and does not name you in their will, you can challenge the will. An important definition here is also that of ‘spouse’.  A spouse is classified as a partner through marriage or 2 years living common-law.  It is also possible to argue that you are a spouse while “living-apart-together” where a couple lives in two different residence but vacation together, share meals together and publicly declared loyalty and fidelity to one another.

Due to the opportunity to contest a will in BC, completing an estate plan during your annual review and sheltering assets away from your estate will help to streamline the process and keep the peace during your estate division.

If you are newer to the estate planning idea, check out this article: https://mysolutionsonline.ca/spring-2020/forward-thinking